Very loving cat is now scared of everyone in house. Anxiety?
My kitty is about a year and a half old, adopted off the street when she was about 6 months, was spayed when she was around 6 months, and is in good health (although a little overweight). This problem has been slowly developing over the last 2ish months. At first it started out as her being afraid of everyone, my husband and I, along with our cousin who is technically her owner, and we're all around 20. She wouldn't come out from under the bed (her safe spot). But it got better, to where she started coming out and seeking out my husband and I, more than her owner. She would come up to us, love us, non-stop purring and rubbing up against our legs and laying by us 24/7.
Then she started developing a bit of a fear, or more of a dislike I guess, of her owner, and to be honest he is not a good animal guy. My husband and I have a theory that he kicks her around a little because she is extremely afraid of feet, and wasn't when we first met her. We also hear him yelling at her and doing the "psssst" noise that scares cats. But then about 2 months ago she started to take a liking to him again and around that same time became extremely afraid of my husband. She didn't mind me, she did the whole "whatever I'm going to lay here and if you pet me feel free to" thing that cats do. But if she was in the same room as my husband and I, and he even so much as squeaks the chair he's sitting in, she would take off running to her safe place under the bed and wouldn't come out for a while. Then when she did, she'd peek around the corner of the bedroom door to make sure that he either isn't paying attention to her or he is gone. Then she comes out, but keeps a very watchful eye out for him at all times. I'm in the process of becoming a vet tech, and know animals a little better than most people, and my honest opinion is that she has an anxiety problem that is now manifesting because of triggers that he somehow triggered, so she associated only him with the bad feelings at that point and no one else.
When she first started being scared of my husband, she wasn't scared of me at all, and was only slightly wary of her owner. But now about 2 months after this all started, its developed into her being afraid of everyone and everything. But it's not the kind of fear that makes her run to her safe spot or run away from us. Its the kind of fear that makes her crouch down in fear, tuck her tail, not move, and flinch a lot, like someone in the house is abusing her, although I know for a fact that no one is, which is what makes me think anxiety.
My husband and I had a period where we fought a lot. A lot of yelling and throwing things on both our parts, which is why i was confused as to why she was only running away from my husband. But he knew she was scared of him and tried and tried and tried to let her know that he wasn't going to hurt her by only giving her affection, and positive feelings. We even tried ignoring her for weeks with no improvement. And now its gotten to the point where she is not only scared of him, shes scared of all of us. Well, I guess it's not so much being scared of us anymore. When she started becoming scared of everyone in the house and not just my husband, it turned more into extreme caution and wariness than fear. She has never hisses or spits at us. She just hunkers down, tucks her tail in, blinks and licks her lips a lot, and flinches like she is preparing to be hit, but she doesn't run and hide like she used to when it first started. It's gotten to the point where if shes using the liter box she'll stop mid poop and run under the bed if one of us comes within her line of vision, or if they don't get too close she'll stare into their eyes until shes done and then she'll leave the room or hide under the bed.
Another side note that may help: my husband has bipolar I disorder, and I know cats can sense a persons feelings very well. When he was on a mood stabilizer, he and our kitty were so close that she would seek him out to lay on his computer, sit next to him in chairs, sit on his lap, beg for attention and treats, all that good stuff that's cats are supposed to do. But every since he stopped taking it was around the same time she became scared of him for no reason. Could it be his extreme fluxuations in mood triggering our cats anxiety? Our cat wont even touch the treats he gives her. He has NEVER hurt our cat. In highschool he would beat the crap out of people who abused animals. My honest guess is that she has been developing an anxiety problem, and the yelling that my husband did, along with the fact that he is the alpha male of the house and his emotions are only stable for short periods of time, just triggers the anxiety in her which would be why is she started being wary of him first, and now that the anxiety has developed enough to where she is wary of everyone in the house.
What do you guys think? Could it be anxiety or another behavior problem, or someone causing her harm that we don't know about? And if so how can we help her out? Thank you for your advice and help in advance!
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